Dolls with “press me” buttons used to be so simple, but some of these things today have the animated abilities of early Disneyworld attractions. Like gremlins, each Christmas a new batch is unleashed, of bell-ringing penguins and ear-flapping dogs, pelvic-wagging Santas, and his 9 seizuring reindeer. Some of these freewheeling little toys today can even walk upright. It can get scary.
Going down the aisles can be an aural affront on the ears. How often have you pushed that welcoming little button only to jump out of your skull as the thing explodes into a jolly rendition of Feliz Navidad at 200 decibels? You can feel the store employees’ skin crawl with disdain for you and your existence. The worst is when the toy plays through to the end with no way of stopping it. There are just some people you need to keep away from the animated doll aisle. Oh yes, you know who you are.
Me and my button-pusher were walking through K-Mart last night. A particularly stupid animated doll was a hippopotamus singing I Want A Hippopotamus for Christmas. Why would a hippo sing that? That’s right, they wouldn’t. They also wouldn’t scoot around the floor of K-Mart on their butt. Then there was another one of these dolls that stopped me. I watched three times. Then I watched a fourth time, and like a clown, took this video. Please turn up the sound to watch the video. This gorilla is singing Louie Armstrong’s What a Wonderful World. As the title suggests, this candy-cane bearing gorilla has an affective quality about him. What’s weird about it is that the gorilla looks as though he means it when he sings it. I know, it sounds stupid. You’ll have to see what I mean.
I’ve burst out laughing every re-watching, which is about 56 times now. I’ve done the dance at least 8 times on the couch while typing this. What a Wonderful World ain’t even a Christmas song, so they sewed a candy cane in his arms and a festive hat to his head.
A monkey who means it. There’s the Stevie-Wonder-inspired head rocking, a sort of toiling and yet, reflective movement. He pauses thoughtfully and looks to the heavens for inspiration. He thinks to himself, solemnly–what a wonderful world. Casting his eyes downward in gratitude, he pauses again to reflect on the beauty of each passing year.